2016 SL project updates 46/2: TPVD meeting; Grid Status changes

Winter Trace; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Winter Traceblog post

The majority of the notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, November 18th. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

Server Deployments – Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for any updates.

  • On Tuesday, November 15th, the Main (SLS) channel received the same server maintenance package as previously deployed to the three RC channels in week #45. This includes:
    •  llGetEnv() will support “region_max_prims” (feature request BUG-40825).
    • llGetObjectDetails() will have a new OBJECT_GROUP_TAG function  (feature request BUG-20064) – when pointed at avatars it returns the group tag you see floating above them; and also OBJECT_TEMP_ATTACHED – to tell you if something is a temp attachment (feature request BUG-5195).
  • There is was planned RC deployment for Wednesday, November 16th.

No Change Window

A No Change window is in force in week #47 (week commencing Monday 21st November) in the run-up to Thanksgiving in the United States. This means that all four server channels should now remain on the same release through until November 30th, when a new RC deployment is anticipated.

SL Viewer

[00:05] As noted in part 1 of this week’s report, the Maintenance RC viewer version 4.1.2.321518 was promoted to de facto release status on Tuesday, November 15th. Also, and as reported in my Bento update #34, the Bento RC viewer was updated to version 5.0.0.321598. This contains three significant bug fixes, but there will be a further RC release to correct the so-called “Viagra Bug” which causes an “ever-growing groin bone”.

[02:14] Further updates are anticipated on the 360 Snapshot project viewer. The Lab is still trying to work around conflicts with the Interest List, but at the moment it still appears the best solution is to slowly pan around the area you want to photography before attempting a capture to ZIP file, although this doesn’t always take care of things.

64-bit Viewers

[02:58] The 64-bit viewer builds, when they appear, will at some point include revisions to how the viewer goes about checking for updates and how the update process is managed. The aim is to make the update process more robust, and separate out the update checks from the rest of the code. There will be further discussions on this in December, which might be taken to indicate when the first 64-bit versions of the viewer might be appearing.

New Maintenance RC

[03:46] The next Maintenance viewer, containing further fixes and improvements is with QA, but should be appearing soon.

Intel HD2000 – HD4000 Graphics Issue

[58:57] As noted in my week #42 TPVD update, the Lab is going to resolve the Windows version detection issue with Intel HD2000 – HD4000 graphics on 32-bit systems by having the 32-bit version of their Windows viewer not opting into the Win 10 features, allowing 32-bit systems remain compatible with the chipsets; however, the 64-bit version will still opt-in. In addition, as the new viewer update process comes into force, the Lab is going to try to automatically  update users into the correct channels, so they are no longer impacted by these issues.

Grid Status Page and Feed Changes

[04:22] The Lab is making further changes to how grid status information is displayed / delivered. This involves a move to a new status page provider, in part to provide more information over what was previously possible and to improve updates and management of grid status reports and  updates.

The new grid status pages will be delivered via https://secondlife-status.statuspage.io/. Note that this isn’t actually live as yet, and any information displayed on the page is currently for testing purposes only.

The cut-over date for the new service is currently planned for Monday, November 28th, at which point a redirect will be put in place to steering people to the new status page when following dashboard links, etc. There may also be a redirect on the RSS feed URL as well. However, those wishing to use the new RSS feeds may need to manually update to one of the following URLs:

The changes are intended to allow Lab Operations to update grid status information directly from their internal chat system, rather than go through multiple steps to get the status pages updated, which is hoped will make the status information reflect updates and situations in a more timely manner, as well as the page itself having far more information available to users through the drop-down sections. There may also be a SMS feature so that those wishing to can subscribe to the service and receive grid status updates on the smartphone.

llTakeControl Issue

[10:18-36:22] Recent changes to the llTakeControl function, which among other things, manages interactions when in Mouselook have resulted in some users running TPVs being unable to complete Quest 3 of the new Horizons Experience as the guns for that section of the game will not function.

I’ve provided a separate report on the issue as it relates to TPVs and the Horizons Experience. However, the problem is symptomatic of wider issues with llTakeControl which also for a part of this discussion, and I refer readers the video to hear the entire conversation.

Voice Updates

[43:58]  The current voice updates are progressing through LL’s QA, but has been delayed due  voice attenuation with distance and direction issues occurring on Mac systems such that anyone on the left of a listening person attenuate rapidly with distance so that at a distance of less than 10 metres, they can no longer be heard. This requires further work from Vivox to correct. Once received – which shouldn’t be too long – then the updates will be released in a project or RC viewer.

Meanwhile, the server-side Voice updates have been held pending the completion of other server-side work which is deemed to have a higher priority.

[42:36] While a fix for SL Voice crashing when plugging / unplugging a USB device was broadly fixed some time again, there are some USB devices which can still result in a Voice crash when plugged in / unplugged from a computer. These seem to be devices which aren’t correctly recognised at the time they are connected (e.g. a headset being identified as a keyboard or camera, a camera as a headset, etc.). Vivox apparently now has a fix for this issue as well which will be coming shortly.

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llTakeControl issue and the Horizons Experience

Horizons Experience may have robots on the loose, but stopping them is proving a bit harder for some than was intended
Horizons Experience may have robots on the loose, but stopping them is proving a bit harder for some than was intended

Update, November 24th: This issue now has a fix, please refer to my update article.

Note: this issue was discussed at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, November 18th, together with wider issues around llTakeControl. You can follow he full conversation via the meeting video, between the 10:16 and 36:22 marks. In this report, I have attempted to focus solely on the Horizons Experience issue.

The TL;DR short form of what follows is that if you playing the Horizons Experience using a TPV, you may find the gun required for Quest 3 in the game  – the forest shoot-out with robots – doesn’t work (Firestorm and Alchemy have the issue, for example). If so, you’ll need to switch to the official viewer to complete that Quest. When you have done so, you can then switch back to using your preferred viewer.

For those interested in the background, as in as small a nutshell as possible: the function llTakeControls has a long history of not behaving well. One of the issues was that it prevented interaction (left-click touch) with objects when in Mouselook, prompting SVC-7532 to be raised.

A fix for this problem was implemented in February 2016. However, while it fixed the left-click touch issue, it broke many weapons systems (see BUG-37693) as well as causing other problems (see BUG-11602). As TPVs tend to be a used a lot by people involved in SL combat environments, some – such as Firestorm and Alchemy – didn’t implement SVC-7532.

The Horizons Experience gun used in Quest 3, however, is designed to work with the SVC-7532 behaviour change, and so may not work for everyone using a viewer which does not have SVC-7532 implemented. Note the “may not” there. If you happen to be on a TPV viewer without SVC-7532, but are wearing an attachment already using llTakeControls when you enter the Horizons Experience, then the gun might work for you (this has been my own experience).

The problem now is what to do. Rolling back the behaviour change implemented in SVC-7532 is not seen as ideal, as it breaks expected functionality elsewhere. Similarly, any “blanket” implementation of SVC-7532 is going to completely break a lot of weapons systems, which the Lab would rather avoid. There’s also the fact that this is one issue among a number caused by llTakeControl (see BUG-8265 for other issues with it), so the Lab is going to have to spend time in further investigations to determine how they’ll handle things going forward.

At the moment, two possible short-term solutions for the “Horizons gun problem” were suggested at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday November 18th (video):

  • Re-scripting the Horizons gun / shooting system
  • Implementing some kind of toggle via the Advanced or Develop(er) menu so that users can switch between the two llTakeControl behaviours depending on the weapon system they are using.

At present, the Lab might be leaning towards the second option. However, and as noted, no decision has been made as yet.

In the meantime, if you encounter the “Horizons gun problem” when using a TPV, you’ll need to switch to the official viewer to complete Quest 3.

With thanks to Whirly Fizzle.